Spring is here, the sun is shining and it’s the perfect time to put away your cold weather clothing and go for a walk. Now that the ice and snow have disappeared, the risk of falling doesn’t seem as high; however, for seniors falls can happen regardless of the season. Statistics show that between 20 and 30 per cent of Canadians over 65 experience falls every year—and they are the leading cause of hospitalization for seniors.
The best way to prevent falls? First, it’s important to remove tripping hazards from your home, wear proper footwear, and check with your doctor to make sure your medications and/or supplements don’t have any side effects or interactions that may cause dizziness or tiredness. While you’re there, discuss any medical conditions that might impair your balance, muscle or joint strength, or vision health, making you more likely to fall.
But the most effective way to prevent falls is as simple as exercising. According to a large review of healthcare literature on interventions to prevent falls, both group and home-based exercise programs that contained balance and strength-training exercises effectively reduced falls and fractures. Tai Chi also had the same effect.
Fall Prevention Month, a Canadian campaign dedicated to encouraging organizations and individuals to team up on reducing falls for seniors, recommends a series of simple daily strengthening exercises that can be done without any special equipment.
Before doing any exercise, check with your doctor. Also, take your time, wear comfortable, supportive shoes and make sure to breathe and keep your knees bent. Start out with three to five repetitions of each exercise, working up to 10 or 15 reps over a few days. For more exercises, visit Fall Prevention.
-Put the back of a chair with armrests against a wall
-Sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands on the armrests
-Move your bottom closer to the edge of the chair if needed
-Lean forward and stand up
-If you can, let go of the chair and stand tall for a few seconds
-Hold the armrests and slowly lower yourself back into the chair
-If this gets too easy, try getting out of the chair without using your arms
Heel raise/up on toes
-Stand with feet shoulder width apart
-Lift both heels off the floor and stand on your toes for 3 seconds
-Slowly lower your heels to the floor
Chartwell believes that active living is a critical component in helping seniors maintain their health and well-being. LiveNow, Chartwell’s signature activity program, engages the body, mind and spirit and helps residents live life to the fullest. To find out more, click here.